PROFILE

Bob Amster

Principal, Retail Technology Group

Mr. Amster has served the retail and distribution industries as both a Consultant and Systems Manager since 1971. He currently heads The Retail Technology Group, an independent consulting firm.

Bob was a Senior Manager with the Northeast Retail Consulting Group of Ernst & Young. Prior to joining Ernst & Young, Mr. Amster held Systems Management positions for large retailers such as Kmart Apparel, Waldenbooks, and Caldor. In addition, he has consulted to retail, distribution, and software companies since 1985.

Bob’s hands-on experience encompasses strategic planning; operational reviews; and systems design and implementation. He specializes in needs assessments; software analyses, selection and implementation; operational procedures and process improvement; and systems integration. His project experience includes numerous engagements in the evaluation, selection and implementation of merchandising, financial, warehouse and store systems packages.

Additionally, Bob has served as interim head of IT for Barneys New York and Shane Company, and as interim head of the Store Systems Group for Savers, Inc.

Bob also has provided due diligence assistance to a number of private equity firms and has served the advisory board of retailers and of a number of e-commerce merchants, to whom he provided retail industry perspective.

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  • Posted on: 05/13/2021

    Has augmented reality tech reached an inflection point at retail?

    I can't tell. I can tell you that I have never been presented with augmented reality when shopping online (of which, admittedly, I do not do much).
  • Posted on: 05/13/2021

    Simon says J.C. Penney is ready to become a 21st century retailer

    In the words of that great philosopher, Rod Tidwell, played by Cuba Gooding, Jr.: "Show me the money!" I will believe it when I see it. Wait and see on this one...
  • Posted on: 05/12/2021

    Uber Eats delivers dinner with a side of blush

    That was my point. We agree. On the other hand, delivering legal marijuana with one's meal is what I call "adjacent categories": get the munchies, then eat!
  • Posted on: 05/12/2021

    Are two PacSun CEOs better than one?

    Not a fan. One CEO with few, but talented direct reports works for me. If the business wants to split responsibilities, do it at the EVP level.
  • Posted on: 05/12/2021

    Uber Eats delivers dinner with a side of blush

    Where is the appeal to the customer? Just because Uber has a huge fleet of delivery vehicles does not mean that these two categories would be ordered together.
  • Posted on: 05/11/2021

    Simon CEO says Americans are experiencing ‘euphoria’ as they return to malls

    Pre-pandemic normality may be a bridge too far. There will be a new normal. People have become more conscious of their environment, of contagion, of hand washing and the like, but we are headed in the right direction. Patience may be one attribute that many/most lack...
  • Posted on: 05/11/2021

    Simon CEO says Americans are experiencing ‘euphoria’ as they return to malls

    "Irrational exuberance?"
  • Posted on: 05/10/2021

    Authentic Brands and Simon Property make a big move outdoors with Eddie Bauer deal

    Just owning a brand does not automatically turn it into the brand it once was. Eddie Bauer is in a space crowded with worthy competitors, but it also has a rich history that needs to be revived. What is SPARC going to put into the brand that will return Eddie Bauer to its glory days? Lower rents?
  • Posted on: 05/10/2021

    Why is omnichannel sales attribution still a problem?

    Anil Patel is correct. Many retailers do not have the technology to correctly and fairly attribute sales to the various channels involved. But, as Neil Saunders points out, this is not because the technology is not available. In fact, developing an equitable system of attribution is a no-brainer that a second year programmer can program, provided that the programmer is given the business rules to code. We have been advocating for years that everyone involved in a sale, as part of the team that caused the sale to happen, should be credited -- but without double-booking sales, of course.
  • Posted on: 04/29/2021

    Will retailers be rewarded for giving ex-cons a second chance?

    There is a marked difference between doing good for public recognition and doing good because it is the right thing to do to improve society. The highest form of giving is anonymous charity. While companies may not be directly rewarded for hiring former criminals (or ex-cons), everyone will be indirectly benefiting in some way. Start with minor offenders, see how it works, and escalate to more serious offenders. The "correctional institutes" in their current state don't "correct" anything -- maybe society can.
  • Posted on: 04/28/2021

    Will immersive experiences revitalize U.S. malls?

    I loved the "dying on the vine" comment (a sin among oenophiles like me).
  • Posted on: 04/28/2021

    Will immersive experiences revitalize U.S. malls?

    Immersive experiences are necessary but not the ultimate cure for malls in America. Other factors are: too many malls, too many uninteresting malls, a waning number of retailers due to store closures, and sameness/a lack of unique concepts. All have to be addressed.
  • Posted on: 04/26/2021

    Will stock ownership work as a loyalty program perk?

    To the extent that companies are willing to meet the increased loyalty sign-ups and the consequent issuance of equity stock, this is an effective tool to retain customers and increase the size and breadth of the market basket. Once a consumer understands that increased sales and profit will correspondingly increase the value of his/her stock, the consumer will be much more likely to support his/her own cause by buying more from retailers that have similar programs.
  • Posted on: 04/23/2021

    Will Americans go shopping for dressier clothes as the COVID-19 threat is reduced?

    I am a purist and more conservative on this particular issue and I certainly hope so!
  • Posted on: 04/23/2021

    Amazon has mad upskills

    Some retailers get that, in a customer-centric retail economy, the people in the frontline of stores and under the headsets in the customer service call centers are the ones that are either going to satisfy the customer or are going to damage the customer's relationship with the retailer. Retailers have to make the decision to spend more in payroll and in training, or skimp and risk the downside. I have faith that the trend to improve training will catch on across the entire industry.

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